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About the Film
   

David EarnhardtQ & A with UNCOUNTED Filmmaker, David Earnhardt


What inspired you to make this film?
It started with what went wrong in the presidential election of 2004. I had lots of questions about the validity of the 2004 election results. The tabulated results were so out of synch with the exit polls. I knew about the lack of security in paperless electronic voting – and I knew about the long lines and missing machines in Ohio. So, I could see there was plenty of evidence that the irregularities likely affected the outcome of the presidential race. My biggest shock was that the mainstream media was completely ignoring the story. For example, I read the New York Times a couple of days after the election and there wasn’t one word from anyone questioning the election results. Fortunately, there was plenty of information on the Internet. I read everything I could to increase my knowledge – and started considering whether we should do a documentary to bring focus to what went wrong with the 2004 election.

How did you get the film started?
I have been working in film & video as a producer, director and executive for 30 years and have owned a film & video production company for 15 years. But I had never made a full-length documentary. It was pretty much a “figure it out from the ground up” kind of thing. I considered going on the road to meet with many of the people involved with this issue and to gather footage for the documentary. Just as I was considering all this, the National Election Reform Conference was held here in Nashville. This conference attracted many of the very people I wanted to interview - journalists, computer experts, activists, and rank and file voters from 30 states all gathering to discuss what went wrong in the 2004 election, and how to keep it from happening again. The footage we gathered at this historic conference gave me the foundation from which to build the film.

What is the most shocking detail that you uncovered while making this film?
I was astounded that people across the country were forced to wait in lines as long as 15 hours to vote. And it was in Democratic leaning precincts across the board. People were still in lines in Ohio even after the election had been called for Bush. And the people in these long lines were mostly African American. To me, it looked like Jim Crow, pure and simple.

Who is the most important single figure in this documentary?
Probably Athan Gibbs. He was an accountant who had no direct experience with elections, other than being a voter. When he saw the millions of votes that went uncounted in the 2000 election, he felt he HAD to do something. He created voting machine software that enabled voters to verify that their votes have been received, recorded and counted. His voting system machine was light years beyond the paperless and unverifiable electronic voting machines that count most of our votes these days. He died in an auto accident before he could finish his work.

What are the key messages in UNCOUNTED?
Not only do people need to be aware; they must also be vigilant. The issue of the integrity of our vote is something people take for granted; it’s part of our identity as a country and as individuals – and it’s the core, the essence, of a democracy. It’s the individual who has to be vigilant and protect these very ideals we have as a country – and nothing is more key to our freedom than the sanctity of the vote.

How do you view the future of elections?
Looking at the 2006 mid-term election, there is major evidence of vote shifting and manipulation of the vote totals. In fact, there is evidence that there were even more uncounted votes in 2006 than in 2004, so the problem is getting worse instead of better. The last thing people need to do is relax. Our vote is not protected.

What do you hope UNCOUNTED will inspire in others?
I hope those who are unfamiliar with the issue go “Uh-oh” and understand the need to keep their eyes open. Learning to interpret the news is a good start, because a questioning and alert electorate is more likely to take action when they see something is wrong. I want to instill the idea that democracy must be defended and constantly monitored, otherwise it will wither away and die. We can choose to fight or roll over. I think it’s a fight worth winning.

If you had one wish about UNCOUNTED and the issue of election fraud, what would it be?
Election manipulation rarely even makes a top ten issues list. But think about it – if your vote doesn’t count, then nothing else really matters. It’s really the foundation for all other issues. If I can raise the level of awareness for how critical the issue is – that this, really, is the #1 issue - then I think I will have done my part.

 

                 

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